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Swallow, like Nixon, burned by cover-up, investigator says
Probe » Investigator compares ex-attorney general to Nixon, saying both tried to hide their actions.

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• Swallow insisted he was not involved in lobbying on Johnson’s behalf, but emails show he helped strategize for Johnson until 11 days before civil charges were filed against the St. George businessman.

Lalli characterized Swallow’s cooperation with the lieutenant governor’s investigation as "inconsistent," noting that his attorneys tried to interfere with interviews of some witnesses.

Latest tweets from Robert Gehrke (newest at the top)

At a glance

Lawson out of jail

Tim Lawson, friend and confidant of former Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, has posted bail after spending a month in jail.

Lawson, who faces a half-dozen felonies, was arrested at his Provo home Dec. 12 and is charged with obstructing justice, evading taxes, retaliating against witnesses and engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity.

He was sent to the Salt Lake County Jail, and his bail was set at $250,000, an amount his attorney tried unsuccessfully to reduce.

His next court hearing is slated for Feb. 3.

Robert Gehrke

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Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, chairman of the House Special Investigative Committee, said his bipartisan panel is still waiting for Swallow’s lawyers to provide information related to the House probe.

Computer forensic experts were able to recover nearly all of the data from the hard drive on Swallow’s home computer, which crashed in January 2012. But they are waiting for Swallow’s attorneys to provide data from the drive responsive to a subpoena the committee sent to their client.

Dunnigan said the panel wants that information to complete its written report. A draft of that report may be available to the committee in late January or early February, but may not be released publicly until the end of February.

Taxpayers have paid "well above $3 million" for the House probe.

Some lawmakers have suggested that the committee should press on to answer all outstanding questions before wrapping up its fact-finding mission — even though Swallow has left office. But Dunnigan said he doesn’t anticipate that happening.

Stewart Peay, the lieutenant governor’s special co-counsel, recommended a number of changes to clarify Utah’s election laws, including defining better what types of business interests and income have to be disclosed and requiring candidates to itemize more explicitly the services they receive from consultants.

For example, Swallow paid Guidant Strategies $377,284 during his 2012 campaign for consulting work, but it is unclear what services were provided. A political-action committee supporting Swallow also paid Guidant nearly $70,000.

Peay said that, if it had gotten to the point at which Swallow would have to be removed from office, attorneys anticipated Swallow would challenge the constitutionality of such an ouster. He said laws could be strengthened to make clear the lieutenant governor can invalidate an election and force an official out of office. Peay also said Utah should clarify what kind of outside work public officials can do while in office.

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Twitter: @RobertGehrke

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